The Unofficial Defiant Comics Archive
Last Update: 1/23/2016
Transcribed Editorials
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Here are the transcribed Editorials of
Art Holcomb
May 1994 Source: Dogs of War #2
When I was asked if I'd like to write DOGS of WAR, I jumped at the opportunity...a chance to write about any topic I liked was more than most writer's could resist...including myself. But, in the end, there was never really any doubt as to the subject of this column. Here, in it's simplest form, is how I found my way to becoming a writer for DEFIANT... 

 I got into a public argument with Jim Shooter. 

 It was last August at the 1993 San Diego Comic-Con. I was scheduled to appear on a couple of STAR TREK panels and talk about the movie I had just written, a futuristic virtual reality thriller entitled Shades. My friend, Val Ontel, was working on programming for the con and asked in desperation one day if I'd fill in on a panel about collaboration since they were a guest short. I, of course, said yes; anyone who knows Val will tell you that she isn't someone you can easily refuse. So off I went. 

 The room was packed with fans as I took my place on the dais. The moderator began the session immediately although one of the panelists was late. We were all well into topic when an extremely tall man in a suit and pony-tail arrived. Every head in the room turned and followed him to the podium. I had never met Jim Shooter before and had no idea who he was or what the big deal was all about. 

 Now, I'm a terrier on a panel and, by the end of the hour, Jim and I had publicly disagreed about everything from the nature of collaboration to the state of television writing today. When it was over, someone had mercifully took me aside and explained to me who Jim Shooter was. I was stunned and more than a little mortified; this was a man whose work I had enjoyed most of my life, although he's only three years older than I am! Embarrassed, I walked up to him afterwards and shook his hand, and actually found myself saying something like, "You know, I've always wanted to write for comics."  You know how it goes--your mouth commits you to say something incredibly stupid and there's nothing you can do to stop it. 

 But Jim was gracious. He said I should send a writing sample to DEFIANT and he'd take a look at my work. Normally I would have dismissed what he said as simple politeness, but something led me to take time from the project I was working on to send him some of my work. Even with that, I was prepared to never hear of the matter again.  
 Six weeks later, I received airline tickets to NewYork City for a meeting with Jim Shooter. That was eight months ago.  
 I've enjoyed writing DOGS of WAR more than anything else in my career thus far. The people at DEFIANT, and Jim in particular, have struggled to show me their special view on comics, one I believe is more creative and vastly richer than most comic lines on the market today. Jim is a master storyteller, fiercely committed to weaving stories of power and action for characters we can all care about. And as a writer hungry to improve his art, there is no place right now I'd rather be. 
 So, Gentle Readers, the next time life presents you with an opportunity to fulfill a dream, take a chance. Your route to success COULDN'T be any stranger than mine. 

                Ad Astra,  

                Art Holcomb

Website Commentary: Dogs of War had a very strong story and it was an excellent read.
June 1994 Source:  Dogs of War #3
Since Dogs is my first try at writing a comic book, I expected a whole host of interesting other firsts as well: first signing party; first rush of adrenaline when I saw #1 on the rack; and first rush of horror as I sat down to write the second issue for fear that I would come up dry for ideas. But one of the strangest firsts I experienced was from readers who came up to me, leveled their eyes to mine and said in a flat voice, "You beat up a woman in issues #1 and #2?!" 
 The answer, of course is that, yes, I beat up a woman, or rather I had the main character Shooter beat up a woman in the last part of Issue #1, and the first part of Issue #2. It was shocking. It was despicable in every sense of the word. And I was certainly raised to not do such things to women. Now, with that out of the way, I want you to pay close attention to the following: 
 If need be, I would do it again in a New York minute. 
I'm amazed at how some readers (myself included) can blithely go through the pages of these books or watch TV or movies and remain unmoved by the number of men who are hurt or maimed, all in the name of entertainment. In the first two issues, Shooter also shot, punched, kicked and generally pounded the snot out of 28 men, and the reader never batted an eye.  
 The female in question here was the leader of a child pornography ring, who exploited helpless children in the most horrible and damaging manner. A loathsome toad who, if she were a man, you would have let me torture and torment to my heart's delight while you cheered. But, instead, Shooter beat an evil, decadent and perverted individual, responsible at least for the corruption of one little girl, who just happens to be a woman, and I get sideways glances and disapproving looks. Get real. 
 Dogs of War is a story about one person who sees the wrongs in the world and decides to actually face each one and defeat it. Shooter is many things: He's smart and single-minded, crude and arrogant, powerful, and yet, sympathetic. But one thing he is not is politically correct. He doesn't believe in the 'fairer sex' when it comes to evil. He will continue to fight whoever crosses the line, whoever's doing something which contradicts that deep-seeded sense of right and wrong which most people nurture in their own secret hearts. Dogs is also about the violence, about the danger and fear that fills us all everyday. I think there lives a Shooter inside most of us; I've seen many of them, people looking to solve their own problems with the tools at hand. 
 So write to me Gentle Readers, and tell me what you think. And once in a while, let's all cry for the man that gets nailed as well.  
                                                                      Ad Astra,  

                Art Holcomb 

Website Commentary: This is an amusing editorial and it pretty much makes it clear as to why this title was so different.
July 1994 Source:  Dogs of War #4
Since you are reading this, there's an excellent chance that you've already read the entire comic book. And for that, I thank you deeply. Had it not been for a signing I recently returned from, I would never be saying this so sincerely. 
 One of the delights of writing comics is that I get to go to comic book stores all over the place and talk to readers and retailers about DEFIANT and my work. This last trip took me from the wilds of Southern California all the way to Springfield, Missouri, and I found everyone pretty much the same everywhere. In each place I was treated extremely well, but I soon noticed a strange pattern developing amongst the people I met.  
 The Reader: These are the people who have read one or more of the DEFIANT titles and keep coming back for more. I love these folks because most know about my work and love to do I (he said narcissistically). 
 The Newcomer: These are the people who have never read our books and came only because they heard a "comic book writer" was going to be in the store that day. They are exciting too, because many of them will read the book in the store, so we can talk about what they thought about it before they leave.  
 But the last type of buyer really upsets me.S/he is: 
 The Collector: These are the people who carefully bring their perfectly stacked copies to the autograph table, instruct me on how they want them signed, and then when asked (I still can't believe this), boldly tell me that they have never read our books, or most of the other that they own because...they are "collectors". 
 I made the third guy who pulled this on me sit on the floor of the store in Moreno Vally, California and read each copy of what he wanted signed before I would touch them.  
 The idea that my stories, along with out various artist's coloring, lettering, penciling, and inking should be locked away in a plastic bag and never enjoyed, as they were meant to be, makes me livid. Personally, each story is a part of me that I mold an shape into something I care about...something I need to share with you. It's a gift we creators offer, made by our was meant to b opened. 
 So here's the get a couple of options if you want a book signed by me in the future. Either be prepared to answer some pretty tough questions about the books, or admit that you're new to the series and I'll let you slide--just once. But, if you're a collecor bent upon hiding our work away and you don't want to anger me.. 
  Buy two copies: 
  One for the box. 
  One for the imagination. 
                Ad Astra,  

                Art Holcomb 

Website Commentary: This is a disappointing snapshot of the industry in 1994. While I agree that people who collect comics and don't read them is sad, almost all comic fans are guilty at one point or another. I wish there had been about 30,000 more of each Defiant Comic sold to collectors, because if there had been, I as a reader might still have some Dogs of War comics to enjoy. 
August 1994 Source:  Dogs of War #5
On July 22nd, I had the honor of joining some of the most creative minds on comics at Golden Apple in Los Angeles for a panel discussion of comic book writing. The setting was perfect, the atmosphere relaxed, and the fans informed and eager. Contrary to my normal behavior pattern, I sat quietly and listened to the experienced creators spin stories of their careers. It was fantastic. I learned a lot about the industry, good and bad. 
 The topic turned eventually to our individual companies. The fans love these insights, a chance to experience what they are aiming for: the life of a professional writer. But when one fan asked me what it was like to write for DEFIANT, I think I disappointed him; I told him exactly what it's like...
 I told him about my editor Debbie Fix.
 I currently write two series for DEFIANT: Dogs of War, the series in your hand that sadly, will soon be ending (as planned from it's inception) and, The Great Grimmax, a quirky powerful story set to premiere early in 1995. It's a lot of work, and would be impossible if not for Debbie. As editor, she must do the following very well:
 (1) Tap dance in the volcano: For Dogs,  Debbie must coordinate the writer (me) in Southern California, the artist Georges Jeanty in Miami, Florida, and the inker, colorists, and letterers, wherever they may be. That means getting my scripts to her on time, and then down to Georges, then the drawings back to me and then of to the others in an endless juggling act. Debbie is a born master of coordination, and she handles it better than humanly possible...thank God.
 (2) Spinning gold from dross: Debbie also makes sure that I have a monthly plotting session over the phone with the busiest man in comics--Jim Shooter. So once a month, it's Jim, Debbie, and me and she makes sure we're never rushed. We talk out plots until we're satisfied and then I go back to my office and write stories, such as this one, and fax them back to her.
 Now, I' rather chew on my own foot off than reveal the following, but there are times when the stories I turn in need work I know what you're saying, Gentle Readers, but it's true. And that's how we come to:
 (3) Getting the spoiled child to the dentist: Debbie calls me and we work on them together. Now, writers are an egotistical breed, and fiercely protective of our stories. Which means that I'd rather have my nose set on fire rather than change my dialogue. I don't want to believe there's anything wrong with my stories, and this could make for a shouting match. But Debbie just lets me run on until we agree about the changes. And it's usually smooth and painless, but always for the better. Sometimes I treat myself to a sucker afterwards if I've been particularly good.
 Dogs of War comes out as well as it does because of Debbie, and I never forget that. You know, at Golden Apple that night, I heard a writer say that the first question he asks about a new assignment is..."Who's the artist?" But I know that's got to be Question #2.
 Question #1 is "Who's the editor...and is there a chance we could get Debbie Fix instead?" 
                Ad Astra,  

                Art Holcomb 

Website Commentary: This was one of the last issues published.